Each year, Augusta University’s Office of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement awards its Spirit of Service academic scholarship to a dedicated student volunteer who has given exemplary service and leadership to support AU’s mission. This year’s scholarship recipient is senior Charlotte Downs, who will begin the nursing program in the College of Nursing this fall.
“I have enjoyed volunteering as a VolunJag so much. This experience has helped me so much toward achieving my medical career goals,” said Downs, who works as an operating room assistant and has two previous semesters serving as a VolunJag for the Adult Inpatient 8 West-Day Surgery and Pediatric Intensive Care Units.
Downs aspires to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and is grateful that the scholarship will help continue her education at AU.
The VolunJag program, which has been in existence for more than 10 years, offers the opportunity for college students to get in-person medical environment experience while supporting more than 20 health system departments. The program also provides students with the tools they need to feel confident in their career pathways through the power of networking and training.
“Volunteering is important because it is not only a way to give back to the community, but it is a way to understand the needs of the community.”Charlotte Downs, recipient of the Spirit of Service scholarship
Additionally, during the first week of the experience, volunteers receive simulation-based training that focuses on teaching students effective communication and patient engagement skills. These trainings help identify areas of growth for the students to build upon as they serve within the medical center.
Student volunteers, like Downs, effectively support patients and student mission through dedicated volunteer service and a passion for helping others through health care. During her time within the health system, Downs shared that it “really opened my eyes to the necessity of being a more empathetic community member.”
“Volunteering is important because it is not only a way to give back to the community, but it is a way to understand the needs of the community.”